When I was younger, if I fell for someone and then found out they wanted to be with me, I felt that sense of elation that comes from being accepted by someone I had deemed valuable. But I thought I felt that way because of the person. Later, I learned that the person, in some sense, was replaceable. I would have felt that way in the same dynamic regardless of the specific characteristics of the person involved.
Over time, I realized that having a partner (and having sex) was an ornament to my happiness—not the reason for it. When we are already sexually confident, already fulfilled, and already joyful, it becomes easy to find someone to roll with.
For me, having a daily mindfulness and meditation practice is crucial to staying connected to my internal satisfaction. Without it, I tend to more easily be distracted by external "wants" or "needs" that I think will fulfill me, that I think can replace my inner peace. (They can't.)
Sexual intimacy is one of the greatest pleasures we have on earth, but when we use it as a tool to reinflate our egos, we rob it of its true potential for transformation. When I started making love just to make love rather than to get a temporary boost of self-confidence, the expansiveness of it was stunning.
Mindfulness allowed me to check my motives before I got intimate with someone. If my aim was to boost my confidence, almost anyone could play that role. If my aim was to experience love, then the pool got a whole lot smaller.
Mindfulness allows us not only to find a partner we actually love but also to serve that love, that relationship, rather than being enslaved by the constant craving for affirmation and external validation.
Making real love means you actually want to be a good lover. You actually want to take good care of your health and diet. You actually want to be on the field playing hard. Mindfulness makes everything that's supposed to be good infinitely better.